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STATUS REPORT
11.18.2013

MAVEN Launch Updates

MAVEN Launching
MAVEN Launching
MAVEN Launching.

4:37 PM EST - Mission Managers Hail Successful MAVEN Launch

NASA's Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution (MAVEN) mission began with a smooth countdown and flawless launch from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station's Space Launch Complex 41. The United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket carrying the 5,400-pound spacecraft lifted off at 1:28 p.m. EST, the mission's first opportunity. MAVEN's solar arrays deployed and are producing power.

"We're currently about 14,000 miles away from Earth and heading out to the Red Planet right now," said MAVEN Project Manager David Mitchell of NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center.

MAVEN Principal Investigator Bruce Jakosky joined Mitchell in praising the mission team for its drive and commitment. NASA Goddard in Greenbelt, Md., manages the project and provided two of the science instruments for the mission. Lockheed Martin built the spacecraft and is responsible for mission operations. The University of California at Berkeley's Space Sciences Laboratory provided science instruments for the mission. NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., provides navigation support, Deep Space Network support, and Electra telecommunications relay hardware and operations. Jakosky is with the Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics at the University of Colorado at Boulder.
"We've managed to work together as a team in a way I never would have imagined possible," Jakosky said.

Jakosky added that while the launch is a big milestone, MAVEN must get to Mars and complete a check-out period before it can finally begin collecting science data. It will take the spacecraft 10 months to reach the Red Planet, with arrival scheduled for Sept. 22, 2014.

"Safe travels, MAVEN," Mitchell said. "We're with you all the way."


3:08 PM E.T. - MAVEN's Solar Arrays Open, Providing Power

The solar arrays on NASA's Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution (MAVEN) have deployed, providing power to the spacecraft as it heads toward Mars. The MAVEN mission began with an on-time liftoff at 1:28 p.m. EST aboard a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket launched from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station's Space Launch Complex 41.


2:20 PM E.T. - MAVEN Flying Solo

NASA's MAVEN spacecraft is on its own following a successful release from the Centaur upper stage that put it on the path to Mars. Spacecraft separation comes on the heels of an on-time launch at 1:28 p.m. EST and a smooth ride into space aboard a United Launch Alliance Atlas V vehicle. MAVEN now faces a 10-month journey to the Red Planet, where it will investigate how the loss of atmospheric gases to space determined the history of water on the surface.


2:15 PM E.T. - Centaur Engine Cutoff; Spacecraft Separation Coming Up

The Centaur's single RL-10A-4-2 engine ended its second burn on time. The next major milestone is the release of NASA's MAVEN spacecraft, coming up in almost six minutes.

MAVEN launched at 1:28 p.m. EST from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station's Space Launch Complex 41 aboard a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket. The Mars-bound spacecraft is embarking on a mission to study the Red Planet's upper atmosphere, where it will investigate how the loss of atmospheric gases to space determined the history of water on the surface.


2:09 PM E.T. - Centaur Begins Second Burn

The Centaur upper stage has restarted its RL-10A-4-2 engine, ending the coast phase and ensuring NASA's MAVEN spacecraft is placed on its path to Mars.

MAVEN launched at 1:28 p.m. EST from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station's Space Launch Complex 41 aboard a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket. The Mars-bound spacecraft is embarking on a mission to study the Red Planet's upper atmosphere, where it will investigate how the loss of atmospheric gases to space determined the history of water on the surface.


1:43 PM E.T. - MAVEN, Centaur Enter Coast Phase

Flight of NASA's MAVEN spacecraft continues to go well following an on-time launch at 1:28 p.m. EST aboard a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket. The vehicle's Centaur upper stage took over the flight following normal burnout and separation of the first-stage booster. The Centaur engine has cut off as planned following a 9.5-minute burn. The spacecraft currently is in an orbit of 87 by 170 nautical miles. After a 24-minute coast, the Centaur engine will ignite for a second burn, lasting 5.5 minutes. Once the Centaur engine shuts down for the second time, the upper stage will turn to a separation attitude. After a three minute delay to ensure the downrange Deep Space Network stations will have contact with MAVEN, spacecraft separation will occur over Australia, 52 minutes, 42 seconds after launch. About 20 minutes later, MAVEN's solar arrays will unfurl, providing power to the spacecraft.


1:27 PM E.T. - MAVEN Takes Aim at Mars

Liftoff! NASA's MAVEN mission to Mars is beginning with a spectacular launch aboard a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket. Liftoff from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station's Space Launch Complex 41 was right on time at 1:28 p.m. EST. The rocket's first-stage engine will burn for about four minutes, then separate from the vehicle, allowing the Centaur upper stage to take over.


12:56 PM E.T. - Atlas V Rocket Fully Fueled Ahead of MAVEN Launch

At T-25 minutes, the United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station's Space Launch Complex 41 is fully fueled and ready to launch NASA's Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution (MAVEN) spacecraft. Liftoff is planned for the opening of a two-hour window at 1:28 p.m. EST.

As a weather system moves into the area from the northwest, electrical potential in the area has been toggling between acceptable limits on a field mill instrument. A field mill is a specialized instrument used for measuring the strength of electrical fields in the atmosphere near thunderstorm clouds. At this time all the field mills are green.


11:59 AM E.T. - Atlas Liquid Oxygen Loading Under Way

The countdown to liftoff of NASA's MAVEN spacecraft aboard a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket continues to progress smoothly. At 11:48 a.m. EST, liquid oxygen began flowing into the rocket's first stage booster. Liquid oxygen loading of the Centaur upper stage is about 50 percent complete. There are no technical issues and launch remains targeted for 1:28 p.m. from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station's Space Launch Complex 41.


11:17 AM E.T. - MAVEN Launch Countdown Resumes

Prelaunch activities are well under way at Space Launch Complex 41 on Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, where NASA's MAVEN spacecraft and its ride into space, the United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket, are being readied for liftoff at 1:28 p.m. EST. The countdown has resumed following a built-in hold at the T-2 hour mark, and the launch team is beginning the process of loading cryogenic propellants aboard the rocket.

Weather forecasters continue to expect a 60 percent chance of favorable conditions during the two-hour launch window.


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